The loss of a child is one of the most heartbreaking and unimaginable tragedies one can go through. Unfortunately, NBC news correspondent Richard Engel is among the parents who know that pain. He recently announced the death of his young son, and Today’s Savannah Guthrie took to Instagram to share her sympathies for her friend.
An Unimaginable Loss
On August 18, 2022, Richard Engel posted on Twitter to announce the tragic passing of his 6-year-old son, Henry. Engel and his wife, Mary Forrest, have been very open about their son’s ongoing health issues and work endlessly to spread awareness.
Henry battled Rett syndrome, a genetic brain condition with no known cure. According to the International Rett Syndrome Foundation, the disease can impair a child’s normal growth timeline and lead to loss of speech and motor control, seizures, and breathing issues. Surprisingly, the already rare condition occurs almost exclusively in girls (1 in 10,000 girls are diagnosed) but is even rarer in boys.
Savannah Guthrie’s Tribute: ‘We Will Keep Fighting’
Engel shared regular updates about Henry’s condition on the Today show, which meant he developed a friendship with host Savannah Guthrie. Naturally, Guthrie was grief-stricken upon news of Henry’s passing and posted the following series of images on Instagram to express her sympathy.
To Engel and Forrest, Guthrie wrote “…you are the personification of what it means to be a parent—to love, adore, and delight in your child, and bring every ounce of your beings to their flourishing. You’re my heroes.”
Guthrie continued with a message for Henry himself: “My dear Henry, you will be missed. I will always remember the twinkle in your eye. We will keep fighting for you.”
It’s clear to see what an impact Henry’s life had not just on the thousands who followed his story, but on those he had the chance to meet, however briefly.
How You Can Help
Research is being done every day to combat and hopefully find a cure for Rett syndrome, but the fight is far from over. Texas Children’s Hospital created a memorial page for Henry where you can learn more about his story and donate to Rett syndrome research.
Our deepest sympathies go out to Engel and Forrest as well as their surviving son, Theo.